Department of Psychology

(440) 826-2163,

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Creativity to cognitive ability. Sensation to stimulation. Mood to memory. Psychology is a dynamic field of study that centers on behavioral, neurological, mental and biological processes.

It is a career-versatile major that combines strong academics, scientific research and practical field experiences. It offers outstanding preparation for medical, professional and graduate school, as well as career opportunities.

Coursework is rigorous and comprehensive. You can concentrate your studies on counseling, cognitive, developmental and other disciplines of psychology relevant to your career interest.

Outside the classroom, you'll have access to hands-on laboratory research beginning freshman year. The department maintains both animal and human research facilities that enable individual projects as well as collaborations with faculty.

Internships and clinical field experiences are inherent to the program. Opportunities include nonprofit and community agencies, counseling and therapy facilities, educational sites and more.

Your success is a priority. You'll receive individual attention and faculty mentoring starting with your first semester.

Ninety percent of BW psychology students who apply to a psychology graduate program receive placement, a coveted honor for which 50,000 students apply nationally and only about 20 percent are accepted.

Neuroscience Blends Brain, Psychology
BW's nationally recognized program is an interdisciplinary study unifying biology, psychology and chemistry. Its hallmarks include strong academics, hands-on research, one-on-one mentoring, and proven student and alumni success. Ninety-five percent of BW neuroscience students who apply to medical school or graduate programs receive acceptance. It was named the 2012 International Undergraduate Program of the Year by the Society for Neuroscience.

Social Work Opportunities
BW's affiliated social work program leads to a bachelor's degree from Baldwin Wallace and a master's degree in social service administration from Case Western Reserve University in just five years. Persons holding the master's degree in social service administration and the LISW (Licensed Independent Social Worker) certification are fully qualified to supervise social service casework, manage social service agencies and establish their own private practice in counseling. Contact is

Interested in Becoming a Teacher?
If you would like to become a social studies teacher, BW has an outstanding teacher education program.

Career Opportunities

  • Medicine
  • Law enforcement
  • Social work
  • Human resources
  • Marketing/sales
  • Laboratory research
  • Public relations
  • Law school
  • Advertising


Offered as a major and minor, psychology combines strong theoretical knowledge with dynamic experiential learning. Related majors include neuroscience, industrial-organizational psychology and BW's affiliated social work program.

You'll receive a broad foundation in psychology. BW offers a variety of courses and seminars that facilitate deeper exploration based on your interests. This prepares you for an advanced degree or a career. You can focus your studies on counseling/clinical professions, cognitive, experimental, developmental and other specialties in psychology.

A required capstone course synthesizes your studies through a thesis project providing opportunities for hands-on research, analysis, scientific writing and oral presentation.

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are hallmarks of the program. You'll learn from faculty who hold doctorates in their subject matter and have decades of teaching experience.

Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. You can enhance your studies through internships, co-curricular activities and other learning opportunities that include:

Robust Research Opportunities

Baldwin Wallace's Department of Psychology has laboratory facilities that can be used by students and faculty in thesis work and collaborative research. The department maintains both animal and human research facilities that permit students to engage in independent projects or in collaborations with faculty. Projects range from behavioral neuroscience and addiction mechanisms to social, cognitive, perceptual and developmental psychology.

The quality of thesis and collaborative research conducted by BW students is outstanding. Every year several students present research at professional conferences such as the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Neuroscience. Other students have had their research published in journals.

Lab facilities include:

Behavioral Science Lab
Offering outstanding learning opportunities, the lab features private testing spaces and specialized equipment for studying small animal behavior under highly controlled laboratory conditions. The principle aim of the lab is to develop and utilize animal models to better understand both normal and disordered human behavior. Faculty affiliated with the lab have active research programs and also supervise students as they develop their own studies. Recent student projects focused on autism, Parkinson's disease, environmental enrichment, post traumatic stress syndrome and drug addiction. Faculty researchers: Dr. Brian Thomas, Dr. Steven Neese, Dr. Claire Mathes

Center for Psychological Science
This suite is home to the research programs of faculty conducting research with human participants. It includes an impressive computer lab. The research spaces accommodate toddlers as well as adults. The control room is equipped for audio/visual recording of the experimental room. Researchers also can utilize the observation side of the one-way-mirror. The center maintains a vast collection of psychological tests and measures that are employed by faculty and student researchers.

Faculty-Student Collaboration

BW psychology faculty are researchers as well as professors. Faculty are engaged in a wide variety of research projects with students as research assistants, co-investigators and co-authors. Among the current research programs:

Dr. Deb Esty has a long-time research interest in the area of women's issues and multiculturalism. She has studied eating issues and body image concerns. Her research teams at BW have examined body image issues in African-American women and Latinas.

Dr. Lisa Green is conducting research on collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process in which the parties work with a team, including attorneys, mental health professionals and a financial professional, to come to an agreement without litigation.

Dr. Dale Grubb and Dr. Chuck Levin are collaborating on a project with a team of student researchers that is designed to investigate factors that influence the perception and appreciation of humor. They are investigating the role of tragedy in humor and the exploration of victimless humor.

Dr. Nancy Gussett is an expert on sexual harassment. She also is interested in working with students on organizational psychology.

Dr. Jennifer Perry is investigating individual differences in cognitive failure. She is working to understand why some people always forget where the car is parked, or accidentally throw important things away or constantly bump into people. It also addresses whether individuals can learn to become better at avoiding these minor failures.

Faculty researchers in BW's Behavioral Science Lab:

Clare Mathes, Ph.D.
Dr. Mathes has researched the neurochemical circuits involved in feeding–especially the overeating of tasty foods–using behavioral pharmacological techniques in rodent models. She also has investigated the neurochemistry of taste. She was awarded an early career grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the impact of antidepressant (serotonergic) and dopaminergic drugs on taste reward and sensitivity in rats. She is currently pursuing these and similar studies at Baldwin Wallace. Future research plans by Dr. Mathes include assessing sex differences and the roles of age and body weight status on taste-guided behavior.; (440) 826-2028.

Steven Neese, Ph.D.
Dr. Neese has investigated hormonal influences on memory and executive functioning before coming to Baldwin Wallace. His current research looks at how exposure to dietary fats and subsequent obesity might interact with age to influence both brain and behavior. Specifically, his research focuses on the effects that adolescent exposure to a high fat diet has on both learning and memory processes and underlying neurochemical processes in a rodent model. Continuing research will determine the role of hormonally-active dietary components and physiological hormonal treatments to alter learning and memory processes in a rodent model.; (440) 826-3712.

Brian Thomas, Ph.D.
Dr. Thomas has researched the neuropharmacology of reward processing. He also has investigated how fears are learned and the treatments for eliminating fear and anxiety. At Baldwin Wallace, he has explored new areas in neuroscience. Most recently, he was an invited researcher at the Max Plank Institute in Dresden, Germany, where he participated in research on adult neurogenesis in rats. His work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. He has received both internal and external grant support for it.; (440) 826-2165.

Internships and Field Experiences

Strong professional connections throughout Northeast Ohio offer key benefits. BW partners with numerous organizations to provide psychology students with opportunities for internships, clinical field experience and external research experiences. Among these are the Cleveland Clinic, Positive Education Program, University Hospitals, OhioGuidestone and the National Alliance for Mental Health.

Student Clubs & Organizations

The department of psychology is affiliated with Psi Chi, the National Honor Society for Psychology; Pi Gamma Mu, the International Honor Society for the Social Sciences and Nu Rho Psi, the National Honor Society for Neuroscience.

Psychology Club
A dynamic organization offering educational, professional and social opportunities, the Psychology Club promotes and conducts activities that enable students to learn about psychology as a profession and a science. It sponsors meetings, lectures, films, outings and field experiences.

Pre-Medical Society
Delta Omega Chi, the Pre-Medical Society, sponsors medically-related volunteer activities, guest speakers, tours to institutions with professional programs, and mentoring with pre-medical upperclassmen and the faculty advisor. This organization is ideal for students interested in becoming health care professionals such as physicians, physician assistants and dentists.

Harrington Psychology Colloquium Series
The Harrington Visiting Professor series offers presentations by experts in various fields of psychology. Past topics have included school violence, multicultural psychology, forensic psychology, clinical hypnosis, eating disorders, autism disorders and domestic abuse. The program is supported by an endowment to the department of psychology in honor of Kathryn Grover Harrington '23 and Robert A. Harrington.

Student Success

BW's emphasis on research methods, statistics and the empirical foundations of psychology coupled with strong internship and independent research opportunities provide psychology majors with the knowledge and skills to be successful graduate school applicants and students.

Each year 50,000 students apply to psychology graduate programs across the nation. About 20 percent are accepted (gradPsych, 2012). Ninety percent of BW psychology students who apply to graduate school receive placement into these programs. The accepted students go on to a variety of psychology-related programs that include school, sports, developmental, counseling and cognitive psychology, neuroscience, art therapy and social work, among others. BW psychology students also attend law, medical and professional school.


At Baldwin Wallace, you’ll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed.

Baldwin Wallace psychology alumni can be found at graduate schools across the nation, including Boston College, The University of Illinois, Cornell University, University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University, among others.


Dr. Jennifer Perry was awarded the Instructional Teaching Award from the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology (American Psychological Association Division 2).

Dr. Charles Levin, in conjunction with OhioGuidestone, developed the K-9 Partners Therapy Dog training program and serves as the co-director of the program.

Dr. Michael Dwyer completed a term as president of the Ohio Psychological Association and was the recipient of the David Prok Humanitarian Award for Social Justice in Sex and Gender. In addition, Dr. Dwyer received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ohio Psychological Association.

Dr. Dale Grubb has been appointed the first associate dean of the School of Social Sciences.

Dr. Deb Esty was selected to co-chair a special interest group of American Psychological Association Division 17 (Counseling Psychology). In addition, Dr. Esty served as the director of the Urban Semester Experience and brought her course in Multicultural Psychology to the Archwood House.

Dr. Brian Thomas was selected to participate in the Young Scientist Program that was held during the International Congress of Psychology in Berlin, Germany.

Dr. Nancy Gussett has undergone certified training as a Title IX Investigator and DDI facilitator

Dr. Lisa Green received a grant from the Zibler Family Foundation.

Dr. Clare Mathes

Dr. Steven Neese

Peg Jones